PEEL Thunder kicked off the season with a 17-point win against East Perth at Leederville Oval last Saturday.
East Perth’s back pocket player Mitchell Fraser had to be escorted off the field with what looked to be a knee injury in the first quarter.
A fantastic performance from Leroy Jetta saw him kick four of the seven goals for Thunder and have 16 disposals.
Captain Gerard Ugle praised Jetta’s performance, saying it was great to have him back on the team.
“He was a big out for us last year,” Ugle said.
“For him to come back and kick four goals, his pressure over the ground is amazing, so it’s been good having him back.”
The game was the first for Jetta after a two-year suspension by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
By the end of the third quarter Thunder had a comfortable lead of 6.10 (40) to 1.9 (15) against the Royals, who seemed unable to match Peel’s efficiency.
Coach Cam Shepherd seemed happy with the team’s progress at three-quarter time, praising the pressure from the forward line and calling it a highlight of the game.
The Royals managed to close the gap with three goals and three points in the fourth quarter, compared to one goal and one point for Thunder.
Ugle attributed the Royals’s success in the fourth quarter to luck.
“I think they just got a couple of lucky goals I guess; our structures just sort of stuffed up there so I guess they got goals through our mistakes,” he said.
The Royals were unable to seal the deal, with stand-out Thunder player Traye Bennel working hard to slow their progress.
Thunder player Brady Grey, returning from injury, finished the game with 17 disposals. He said it was great to get a win against East Perth.
“The guys really got up, we had a really good pre-season, couple of really good wins in the pre season,” he said.
“The Freo boys and the Peel boys play really well together and it was great to get the result.”
He agreed with Ugle on Jetta’s performance.
“He’s had a really tough 12 months with the Essendon saga but it was great to have him back out there,” he said.
Ugle said Thunder were not tipped to make the final last year but the team had surprised a lot of people and hoped they could do the same this year.